It’s got to be here somewhere.
It’s what they all think, and what many of them speak aloud. Their weak boots filling with my waters, their feeble sight confounded by my mists, they trudge through the trackless stretches of my maze, jumping at cobwebs and the shadows of trees, bewilderment giving way to desperation and gray, empty hopelessness. And the mires swallow them up as they kneel. So it has been for seventy succulent years.
“It’s got to be here somewhere,” one now says, parting his way through thick, slippery vines. His eyes flick from shadow to shadow, from stump to imagined looming shape. His fear comes off him in a slow, oozing torrent that spreads across the surface of the water, but the map in his clutched hand and the hollow promise of gold in his jittery mind lend something like confidence to his voice. He is telling himself that he is confident, and he is just good enough at lying to himself to believe it.